Glasgow-born former Gillingham, Huddersfield and Swindon striker Iffy Onoura has been named head coach of the Ethiopia national team.
The 42-year-old, who is of Nigerian descent, began his coaching career in 2004 with Walsall.
He was sacked by manager Paul Merson, who said he needed more experience, but later had coaching positions with Swindon, Lincoln and Gillingham.
Onoura also had spells as caretaker manager of all three clubs.
He was first-team coach with Gillingham and assistant to Peter Jackson at Lincoln but left Sincil Bank in 2008.
Onoura started his senior career with Huddersfield and went on to play for Mansfield Town, Gillingham, Swindon, Sheffield United, Wycombe Wanderers, Grimsby Town, Tranmere Rovers and Walsall.
He takes over the Walya Antelopes as they emerge from a time of turmoil in Ethiopian football.
The national team, who lie 123rd in the world rankings, were readmitted to international competition last year after a suspension that led to them being disqualified from the latest World Cup and Africa Cup of Nations tournaments.
In their last outing in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifying, Ethiopia finished bottom of their group.
There followed an internal feud over an attempt to sack Dr Ashebir Woldegiorgis as head of the Ethiopian Football Federation and that ultimately led to the Fifa suspension in 2008.
The Ethiopian Football Federation (EFF) on Monday officially signed a one year contract with a British coach of Nigerian descent who will train the Ethiopian national soccer team.
The new coach, Ifem Onuora, 43, will be paid a monthly salary of $13,000, together with free telephone, housing and automobile for his stay in Ethiopia and free air tickets twice a year to travel to his country.
While signing the agreement, Sahilu Gebrewolde, president of EFF said that the coach’s salary and other expenses will be covered by MIDROC Ethiopia, a company owned by Ethiopian tycoon, Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Ali Alamodin, who is running billions of dollars worth of investments in various sectors in Ethiopia, including the Sheraton Hotel in Addis Ababa.
The new coach is said to have ‘A’ level in coaching with many years of experience.
It is the first time that the Ethiopian national team hires a foreign coach with such huge amount of money.
In the past, the federation hired far less expensive foreign coaches. However, no improvements had been made to the Ethiopian football, and the country has for a long time been unable to qualify even for African Nations Cup.
The EFF hopes that the new coach will help the national team in its preparations for the 2012 African Nations Cup qualifiers.
“We have professional coaches who deserved to coach our national team, but they are not given due attention,” said one coach who refused to be named.
According to this coach, wasting such a huge amount of money on a foreign coach would not bring any positive change to the country’s football.
“I am supporting the Sheikh’s effort to help Ethiopian football, but I believe the man should have given such amount for the hiring of a local coach, which would have been more meaningful than paying it to a foreign coach,” he added.
Ethiopia has identified around 50 players for preparations for the 2012 African Nations Cup qualifiers.
Source: BBC & APA